Critical Issues that you might have too

Our main early failure points (and solutions) at the Ventura Regional:

  • Radio disconnects
Problem

At some points during the match, the radio would lose power and immediately reboot

Solution

We connected POE and Barrel jack for redundancy on the radio power. Also we routed the barrel jack and poe to the same vrm

  • Falcon Manufacturing issue
Problem

During the inspection, we found that our frame was charged. We found after tracing it that a Falcon’s case was receiving charge from the inside. Upon further inspection, a glob of solder was manufactured wrong and was touching the frame.

Solution

We put electrical tape over the part on the inside.

  • Network switch not connecting
Problem

We had one ethernet wire going from radio to switch and one from radio to the limelight. Nothing was connecting.

Solution

There is an issue where only one port on the radio can be used so we rewired the limelight to the network switch.

  • Connectors coming out
Problem

2 of our wire connectors came out (Anderson and a Dupont)

Solution

We printed Anderson power pole securers and replaced Dupont with xt30u connectors.

  • Xbox Controllers disconnecting
Problem

Our controllers would have difficulty connecting and sometimes disconnected during a match

Solution

We borrowed a different team’s xbox controllers and replaced the cables with higher quality ones (highly recommend getting good cables)

If any other teams had other learning that might not be obvious, feel free to reply with it.

Good luck with your regionals!

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So with those shortcomings/failures/successes in mind, what are you going to Start Doing? Stop Doing? Continue doing?

(You already did a good job listing stuff off: start, stop, continue is just a useful framework)

We are and recommend doing checks on all Falcons before a comp.

  • Keeping redundancy in mind for critical systems.
  • Buying high-quality ethernet and micro-USB cables. (Nothing else matters if one of these fails)

We are also planning to stop using extremely old electronic parts (mainly cables and connectors)

Another thing that happened was that 2 of our wire connectors came out (Anderson and a Dupont) so we printed Anderson power pole securers and replaced Dupont with xt30u conectors.

That sounds like a significant fault internal to the Falcon. Has your team reached out to Vex regarding the issue? They would want to know. The TalonFX on the back is not supposed to need a team’s inspection and rework.

This is a good and very familiar sounding list. With commodity connectors, particularly with small contact area like micro- and mini- USB, it can help to hot glue connectors in place for competition.

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Yep, this is an uncommon but possible manufacturing defect with the Falcon 500. It is more prevalent with older units but possible in newer units as well.

I do want to emphasize however - please DO NOT open the back of the Falcon 500.
There is calibration between the controller and motor that is critical for the Falcon operating correctly. When you open the back of the Falcon this calibration is lost, and operating the Falcon like this will result in (at best) decreased performance or (at worst) damage to the Falcon unit. Because of this opening the back of the Falcon also voids the warranty.

If you have a Falcon with an internal short please contact our support and we’ll be happy to provide troubleshooting and an RMA for a replacement unit.

From the User’s Manual:

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